Big Soybean, Wheat Export Sales

Friday morning's USDA weekly export report showed surprisingly large U.S. soybean sales, driven by strong Chinese buying. Wheat export sales were also well above trade expectations, while corn sales were disappointing.

USDA pegged soybean export sales for the week ended Aug. 29 at 46.4 million bu, with 43.8 million bu in sales being for the 2002-2003 marketing year. Over half of the week's sales were booked to China.

As a result of the big weekly sales, U.S. 2002-2003 soybean export commitments already totalled 178.4 million bu or 21.8% of USDA's projected 2002-2003 exports with the marketing year not even started.

USDA pegged weekly wheat export sales at 30 million bu, versus trade expectations for 15-18 million bu The Philippines and Nigeria were the leading buyers, each taking over 3.7 million bu.

For the 2002-2003 marketing year to date, U.S. wheat export sales commitments are now running about 2.1% behind a year earlier. Actual weekly shipments of 20.8 million bu left year-to-date export shipments 4.2% ahead of a year earlier.

USDA reported disappointing weekly corn export sales of 26.2 million bu, versus trade expectations for 29.5-35.5 million. The sales total was held down by cancellations of over 8.9 million bu in 2001-2002 sales commitments.

Weekly corn sales for 2002-2003 were pegged at 23.8 million bu. Going into the 2002-2003 marketing year, advance U.S. corn export sales commitments total only 7.95% of USDA's 2-billion-bu export projection. That is well below the historical average.

Senate Delays Vote On Disaster Aid

The Senate on Thursday delayed a preliminary vote on disaster aid legislation introduced by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Daschle proposed the $5 billion disaster aid plan as an amendment to an Interior Department funding bill for fiscal 2003.

The Senate is now expected to vote on ending debate on Daschle's amendment on Monday. Sixty votes will be required for to end debate on the amendment. If the legislation garners those votes, it will signal that there is strong enough support to overcome other objections to the emergency spending.

Under Daschle's amendment, farmers would be eligible for aid on losses that exceed 35% of a normal crop. Compensation would be calculated at 65% of usual receipts from the remaining losses. Ranchers would be compensated for feed expenses and loss of forage.

Cost of the aid was estimated at $5 billion at the start of August. Hot and dry weather has persisted, which could drive up claims for federal help.

Editors note: Richard Brock, Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.